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The Shadow of His Wings

My parents just finished writing their Christmas letter, and they sent it out this morning; they included a picture that I took with the kids, while we were on Skype. 

When we're all together, then it's a family portrait...but this will have to do this year. 

In their letter (I heard it, even though I haven't seen it yet) they share about all the different things that happened this year, just like most Christmas letters.  They visited with us, helped us move, celebrated Eliana's birthday here; they also did some vacation traveling just the two of them.  They shared about my brother and what he's up to.  There is also the story of how they told the congregation (my dad is a pastor in Virginia) that Dad will retire in May; he's been at the church for 36 years (correct me on that if you need to, parents).  This year has held a lot for them...they've both seen changes in others' lives and experienced changes in their own.

Mike and I are both blessed to have our parents still in our lives.  I usually take that for granted, in the sense that I don't think about it too much.  I'm so grateful that they are, and even though we're far apart, we get to talk very often, we get to see them (my mom and dad) on the computer frequently, and we are able to visit with them several times a year. 

Back to the Christmas letter...when you send out your letter so that it gets to people before Christmas, there may be things that don't get included, since they haven't happened yet.  Like...when you have a car accident where someone runs into you, but you see it coming and as a reaction you try to veer out of the way.  But you're hit and your car swerves and flips two or three times, leaving you topsy-turvy and your car on its side in the ditch.

I got a phone call earlier today and I thank God that it was my mom telling me the story and not someone else.  She told me not to be upset, but she had something to tell me.  Well...that's always a good beginning!  She went on to say that they had been in a "pretty horrific car accident".  They were fine, the car was not, and the brunswick stew that they had been transporting to my aunt and uncle's house was now thrown all about Highway whatever-the-number-is.  The checkbook and an important recipe were recovered.

They both walked away from the car, although they had help getting out of it.  My mom impressed me by explaining how she managed to stick her foot up on the dashboard and somehow get out of her door, with help from a man that had stopped to give them aid.  Getting my dad out was a bit more difficult, as his door was the one that was facing down.  I can only imagine the whole scene.  She said it all happened so fast, yet it was like it was in slow motion.  Somehow that makes perfect sense.

Tonight I have been thinking about all of our visits this year and in years past.

I've been thinking of all of the joy they bring and how much they love the kids.  They love to send little packages with gifts for each one throughout the year.

My mom writes little notes and uses stickers; my dad sometimes adds a little note as well.  They sent a small Star Wars notebook to Christian around Halloween and the first page had a letter for him from my dad, since they had watched SO MUCH Star Wars the last time they visited. 

I have been thinking about how much I love these moments spent with them.  I cherish the time we have, especially because we are half a country away.

They have given their time, to pore through our mail, to sort through our boxes, and to move our furniture and wash the dishes and put away the laundry.

They have loved us.  And loved us.  And loved us.  (My mom made that little shift that Michaela is wearing...years ago, out of fabric that belonged to my grandmother.  Michaela has only just now stopped wearing it.)

And we love them.  I love them.  And I'm so very thankful that they are still around so that I can tell them so.

I love you, Dad.

I love you, Mom.

And God...thank you for sparing them.  I don't understand your ways...I know full well that things could have been very different.  Who can question the sovereign Lord of all creation?  I can only say thank you for your protection over my mom and dad.  Amen.

--an addition--

I just spoke with and saw my parents, via Skype; their computer managed to survive the accident...

Here is my dad's poor head...

He has no hair to protect it!  It's a good thing that the Lord who knows the number of hairs on our heads was watching over his.

And here they are, at the end of their long day...

My mom had just said how aware she now was of how quickly things can change, that they could have been gone.  They could have not been here.  But they are.  Thank you, gracious God.  She went on to say that all we can do is wake up each day, grateful to be alive.  And then to live that day the best we can...for Him.

Reader Comments (15)

Wow! So thankful God had his hand over your parents. What a wonderful Christmas gift!

December 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteramy

My goodness - how scary! I'm thankful it turned out well and that the recipe was saved. ;) And I'm thankful you didn't have a heart attack when they told you about it. This might be the best Christmas ever.

As a completely irreverent aside: Is it at all confusing for the kids in your dad's congregation that the man who tells them about Jesus looks like Santa? Just wondering.

December 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMindee@ourfrontdoor

Oh my gosh...I'm in tears just thinking about it! Thank God that He protected them.

December 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Oh my goodness. I'm so glad they are safe!

December 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElaine

Mindee...that is really funny that you say that about Santa...there are definitely kids who have called him Santa Claus! My mom gets a picture with him and our kids each year with his hat on...Grandpa Santa.
Thank you everyone, for your comments! They are super grateful to be alive. :)

December 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

That's amazing that he's been there for so long, Christina. Marcus' dad has been a pastor at the same church for 38 years. :) It's unusual these days, I think, but I love the dedication it shows.

December 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChandra

Oh your poor parents! I'm so glad they are safe. They sound like such lovely people. Love the kids' matching pajamas.

December 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElle Bee

I am so thankful that they came out with just bumps and bruises. Tell them "Hi" for me and that I said some prayers of thanks on their behalf tonight. I am so glad, roomie, that they are OK.

December 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I just told my folks about it as well. Let them know that my mom said that they are so glad they are OK and that they are thinking about them.

December 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

LOVE the skype pictures!!! I'm so glad your parents are okay!! Merry Christmas!

December 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlissa

Christina, your post was so sweet and brought tears to my eyes. You just never know when God will call you, or someone you love to join Him in Heaven...although we all want to go, we don't necessarily want to go now. I love your family and am very thankful that God had His loving arms wrapped around them during this horrible accident. I hope you and your family have a great Christmas. The children are just darling!! : )

December 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

I just spoke to my sissy (your momma) for about an hour...she sent me an email today telling me about the accident and I immediately tried calling them with no success!! I finally reached panic stricken I was to have thought about what "could" have happened. Our great creator was watching over them...or perhaps their guardian angels. I am so thankful that I still have my big sister and my darlin' brother-in-law!! Christina--your post made me cry...a good cry!! I love you and miss you dearly!!

December 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAunt Lisa

Christina...even though I've only met your parents once and spent little time with all of you at your home in VA...I feel like I KNOW them far better (through your posts and stories). I just love them, love them, love them. They are simply the greatest parents and grandparents I think I may have ever met. I'm envious you have them...I want a pair of them! I'm also so glad you have are soooo soooooooo blessed my friend. I know you know it so I don't need to go on and on. :o) Happy to read this post and see that God plucked them from such a tragic mess...and He still has work for them to do here! Give them hugs for me...all the way from Michigan...through your Skype! LOL :o)
Have a very Merry Christmas friend...I just love your family...wish you lived around the corner so you could "carry me" when I'm down and I could carry you around the grocery store. ;o) hee hee

December 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjen ripke

Praise God from whom all blessings flow not only for your parent's safety, but for those that came to their rescue, for the 36 years of ministry, for the love they have for you and you for them, for the way they have been involved in your life even if you are half a country away. That was always the story of my life -= far away from parents, siblings and aunts and uncles! Praise God for parents who encourage and share where real security and friendship and strength comes from as well as exhibit it when they are so far away. And thank God for skype.... don't understand it, but the pictures were wonderful!

December 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy

Just catching up on things from the holidays. can't believe this. your poor parents! so thankful the Lord spared their wonderful lives to give you each more of one another.
they seem very precious in your children's eyes, as well of yours of course!
So glad y'all have had the week together. I love love their Christmas card. What a COOL idea.
You will have to tell me about Skyping one day. Don't know much about it but maybe I should do that with my mom...
love and miss you and happy birthdays to your sweeties!

January 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

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